Star Alliance member Avianca outright sells elite status in their LifeMiles frequent flyer program. It’s $1200 for Silver elite and $2200 for Gold. Avianca’s Gold status is Star Alliance Gold.
Here are the benefits of having Star Alliance Gold status:
Reader Leonard B. writes about his experience signing up. I thought I had written about this but couldn’t find a previous post about it, so I thought I’d pass this along.
I was missing my star alliance Gold status. It was the little conveniences of getting in line early, getting preferential seats more baggage on flights. This really came in handy in Asia and Europe for the short flights where you pay a fortune for extra weight.
I decided to try and purchase the $2,200 gold status through Avianca. I called the number no answer other than music on hold for ever.
I wrote to them and was told I have to go to an office which there are very few in the U.S. I explained this and they told me they would arrange to call me. They did but each time I picked up the phone no one was there.
I finally called a number provided in one of the emails and I got though almost immediately. I asked if I could purchase star alliance gold and was told I must go to the office. I explained the emails and after being placed on hold several times I was told no problem. They would want me to call back in 30 minutes or they could call me, I elected for them to call me so I would not have to go through the process of explaining myself.
Thirty minutes later they called took my credit card with a translator on the phone…
It’s worth noting that there are also real substantive benefits to this status if you’re flying Avianca itself, most notably complimentary upgrades (except on Europe flights, and reported results of this benefit are.. mixed).
The 100% mileage bonus is notable as well. While you can use your card to access most of the benefits, or if you want checked bag fees waived keep your account number in your reservation until bags are checked and you can always credit to United MileagePlus or another Star Alliance program after that’s been accomplished — but you may want to credit to LifeMiles.
If you have any status at all though, I’d certainly consider the status match route before forking over $2200.
I’d also consider whether using the cash to buy a lounge membership, and then the remaining 75% towards paid first class tickets (often a cheap buy up on domestic flights) might make more sense.
Still, there’s a market for this and I understand where Leonard was going with it.